I’m a kitchen stuff  junkie.  It has nothing to do with believing that kitchen gadgets will improve my cooking. (hmmm… maybe that’s a subconscious message… )  Anyway, I just love kitchen stuff of all kinds.  When our kids were growing up, the standard holiday or gift question was “Mom, what do you want for [insert occasion here] AND DON’T SAY YOU WANT KITCHEN STUFF!” It quickly became the family joke — until they realized I was serious.  Now they’ve just stopped asking and they go shop for my gifts at The Peppercorn.

But, I’m almost sorry to say  (almost, but not really) that I’m stunned that there’s an incredible kitchen machine that I’d never heard of until I started traveling to Spain.  Drum roll please…  Thermomix! It slices, it dices, it blends, it weighs, it chops, it cooks.  All in one bowl, with no need to remove ingredients between measurements. Add potatoes, til it says there are 200 grams.  Hit clear, put in onions until it says there are 100 grams. Clear. And so on and so forth.  Cook the veggies in the bottom. Steam the fish on top.  And the range of dishes this bad girl can make?  Well, let me give you a clue.

The German Vorwerk / Thermomix website lists all of the representatives of their product; 66 countries and growing. There are literally hundreds of Thermomix cookbooks out in the world.  Who knows how many Thermomixes are out there, but almost all my friends in Spain have one. And now they are cropping up in professional kitchens as well.

Here’s the kicker.  You can buy a Thermomix in New Caledonia, Latvia, and Angola.  You can even buy it in Réunion. But guess where you can’t buy one?  Consumer capital of the planet – U.S.A.

Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think that the U.S. has any special right to have it, and I’m not screaming foul or anything like that.  More, I’m dumbfounded that in a place where kitchen cooks will spend money on a purple squiggly plastic thing that claims to peel garlic (ducking head and shuffling feet) there are no distributors for one of the most useful kitchen machines ever invented.

I couldn’t stand it. I wrote letters.  Canada, fairly recently, got two distributorships.  Mexico? One, that I know of.  Hey, German guys!  What’s up?  They wrote right back.  “We regret to inform you that we do not have a distributor in the U.S. due to the tight U.S. regulations. We are exploring further.”

Here’s where it goes really sideways.  We can buy Thermomix anywhere else in the world and bring it home and do some fancy electrical work to make it work with our electrical system. [ By the way, how did our measurement system and electrical system wind up being different from 90% of the rest of the planet?  Don’t answer that.] Anyway, you can also buy one from Canada or Mexico, have it shipped to the U.S., some of them will even pay the import taxes for you, and it will work just fine in the U.S. There’s even a popular blog that’s for U.S. based fans (and coveters) of the Thermomix

Now I have to tell you the worst part, and why I don’t actually (yet) own a Thermomix.  They cost… GULP… $1,500!  So up until now, up until all my Spanish friends (who generally buy their Thermomix from their local neighborhood distributor and they make small payments every month til it’s paid for) have demonstrated to me just how versatile and how useful this little beauty can be.  I give in. I’m getting one.

End of rant.  Ladies and gentlemen — start your savings accounts!